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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Gender and Technology in Mande Societies: The Rashomon Problem
Author:Herbert, Eugenia W.
Periodical:Mande Studies
Geographic terms:West Africa
Ivory Coast - Côte d'Ivoire
Subjects:gender relations
iron and steel industry
iron forging
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
Labor and Employment
Sex Roles
Cultural Roles
Development and Technology
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/44093489
Abstract:Iron smelting is apt to be profoundly genderized in sub-Saharan Africa. Work roles are regulated by sex; smelting furnaces may have sexual designations and attributes; the smelting process is hemmed in with prescriptive rituals, taboos against sexual activity, and the exclusion of women. A comparison of studies of gender and technology in Mande societies, however, reveals differing bodies of data and sharp differences of interpretation, making it impossible to propose a single model of gender and technology for Mande metal working. The present author lays out the findings of M. Griaule (1948, 1965), G. Dieterlen (1965-1966, 1973) and others of the French school as they concern iron working (both smelting and smithing) and compares them with the research of P. McNaughton (1975, 1988), E. Huysecom (1997) and S. Brett-Smith (1994, 1997) to see if there is any way out of the impasse. The focus is on Bamana and Dogon ironworking but with reference also to the wider world of the Mande metallurgical diaspora which extended to Fouta Djallon in the west and northern Ivory Coast to the south, as well as to large areas of the Inland Niger Delta as far as the Bandiagara escarpment. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]